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and sparkling as an emerald. Its mouth is armed with two very sharp hooks, with which it holds its prey; and its whole body is covered with a brownish crusty tegument. Under its two largest wings, which are also of a solid matter, are four lesser wings as thin as the finest silk. It has six legs, each of which has three joints, and is beset with little prickles. In the day-time it is continually pursuing other insects which are its prey; and in the night it lodges on the trees, where it makes a noise almost like a grasshopper.
There are horn flies of several sorts, particularly one about three inches long, which has two nouts like an elephant, the one turning upwards, the other downwards. It has a blue head, with two green eyes, encompassed by a small white circle. Out of its back rises a horn, shaped like a woodcock's bill, smooth on the upper side, and covered with down on the lower; which horn reaches to its head, where it has another resem‣ bling that of a beetle, black as ebony, and as clear as glass. Its wings are of a violet-colour, intermixed with carnation; and where the upper onės are expanded two lesser ones may be seen under them, as thin as those of the flying-tyger, and red as scarlet.
There is another pretty little insect with four legs, called a fly-catcher, whose colours are various and beautiful. It comes boldly into rooms, and will even light upon the table when people are eating, and catch the flies that crawl upon their clothes. Its method is to lie waiting for the flies, and, when it sees an advantage, it leaps directly on its prey, which it seldom misses. The small eggs these insects lay, they cover slightly
with earth, and leave them to be hatched by the
In St. Christopher's there is a bird called the booby, which seems to deserve some notice. It is a large bird, of a dunnish colour; and, if one of them alight (as they now and then do) upon a ship's yard-arm, it will stand there till a sailor can climb up and catch it with his hands, all the while pecking and screaming out, but never offering to fly away; from whence it has justly ob-' tained the appellation of booby.-Here also we may notice another bird, somewhat bigger than a pigeon, great numbers of which are found in a little island called Prickle-pear, to which the women of Anguilla, resort annually to strip them of their feathers; and the poor creatures, it seems, are so silly as to suffer these women to knock them down with sticks, as they fly about. It is somewhat strange however, as our author observes, that repeated experience does not teach them wit enough to keep farther off from such dangerous
There are such numbers of turtle caught at Bermudas, that the inhabitants make them their comnion food, their flesh being very white, tender, and delicious. Here are also a surprising variety of fowls, such as swans, ducks, widgeons, teals, snipes, hawks of several sorts, storks, herons, bitterns, cormorants, baldčoots, moorhens, &c. besides a multitude of sparrows and other birds of the smaller kind. There is likewise a sort of water-fowl peculiar to these islands, which are called cowkoes, and hatch their young in holes and bur. raws of the rocks like rabbits. They are as big as a sea-mew, and were formerly in great plenty;" but, being of so gentle a nature as to be easily
caught, and their flesh being very good food, the inhabitants have made such havock among them that they are now rather scarce than numerous. The tropic-bird is also frequently seen about Bermudas, which is a high-soaring bird, about the bigness of a partridge, of a milk-white colour, with a tail consisting only of one single white feather a foot and a half long. These birds are commonly met with about the tropics, whence their name, and often many hundred miles from land; which may also be said of the sheer-water, a brownish-coloured fowl, almost as big as a goose, which is very strong-winged, and frequently alights on the
They have such plenty and variety of fish about these islands, that they have not yet found names for many sorts of them, both of the scaly and shelly kind, Some whales are caught upon their coasts, chiefly in February, March, and April; but all their attempts to establish a whale-fishery have been unsuccessful. The Bermudans formerly drove some traffic in spermaceti and train oil, but that branch of their commerce is now decayed.
It is said there are no venomous creatures of any kind in Bermudas, but perhaps a greater variety of insects than in any other of our plantations in proportion to their size. Amongst these the spiders are very remarkable, for their extraordinary size and the strength of their webs. Their bodies consist of two parts, one flat, the other round, and both together, with the legs stretched out, are large enough to cover a man's hand. This monstrous bulk, makes them look frightful, but the beauty and variety of their colours in some measure take off the distaste. The round part of their body is shaped much like a pigeon's egg, and under the flat part
grow their legs, five on each side, with four joints, and claws at the end. They have a little hole in their backs, and their mouths are covered with greyish hairs, intermixed with some red, and have a crooked tooth on each side, of a hard polished substance, and of a bright shining black; so that they are often set in gold or silver, to serve for tooth-picks. When these creatures grow old, they are covered all over with a sort of down, of a brown or blackish colour, very smooth, soft, and shining like velvet; and it is said they cast their downy skins every year, as well as the two teeth just mentioned. They show a wonderful skill and agility in spreading their webs from tree to tree, which, are so very large and strong, as to extend seven or eight fathoms, and when finished will ensnare a bird as big as a thrush.
In Guadaloupe there is a bird of passage, which Labat says he met with in none of the islands but this and Dominica. It is about the size of a young pullet, and its plumage is as black as jet; its wings are long and strong, its legs short, its feet like those of ducks, but armed with strong claws; and its beak crooked, sharp-pointed, and extremely hard. It has large eyes, with which (like an owl) it sees best in the night, when it catches fish out of the sea, which are its only food; and, if these birds are disturbed in the daytime, the light so dazzles their eyes, that they fly against a tree or any object in their way. Our author supposes they are the devil-birds, that are seen in Virginia and the adjacent countries, from May to October. From the beginning of October to the end of November they stay at Guadaloupe, after which they are not seen till about the middle of January. There is a mountain in the island,
from these birds called the devil's mountain, where they lodge in holes like rabbits, Aying out to sea in the evening, and returning to the mountain in the morning, Here, they lay their eggs and hatch their young, which are ready to fly about the end of May, and are very tender food, but their fat resembles oil, The flesh of the old ones is blackish, and has a fishy taste, but otherWise e it is very good and nourishing. The negroes and poor people have scarcely any other sustenance than these birds during the season; and it may be deemed a great providence that they harbour in places so difficult of access, otherwise the French would long ago have destroyed the species.
Labat tells us, that he once indulged his curiosity to accompany four negroes in this kind of fowling, not without great fatigue and danger. It took them up six hours, to get to the summit of the mountain, where they lay all night; and next morning, when the birds, were returned from their fishery, the negroes repaired to their boles, with dogs trained up to the sport. Each negro carried a switch in his hand, seven or eight. feet long, with a crook at the end of it; and, as soon as the dogs, which smelt at every hole, had discovered one with a devil-bird in it, they barked, and began to scratch up the ground at the entrance, but they were prevented from doing this by the fowlers, who thrust their switches into the holes, on which the birds either fasten with their beak, and suffer themselves to be dragged out rather than quit their hold; or else the crook is turned round the hole till one of the wings is entangled by it, and so the bird drawn out by force. Our author adds, that by noon they had taken a hun